Boys’ Soccer Opens Season with a Tight Match

Boys’ soccer (1-1-0) tied 2-2 against University High at the Portola Springs Community Park on March 16. While the team ended the first half with a score of 1-0, during the second half, they finished with an additional goal following the two from the opposing team.

The team proceeded to win the next home game against Irvine High 2-1 at the Portola Springs Community Park on March 19. Their next game is scheduled for March 23 against Woodbridge High at 5 p.m. at the Portola Springs Community Park.

With a minute into the first half, sophomore Parsa Goshtasbi scored the first goal of the game, giving the team a 1-0 lead. 

The Bulldogs focused on executing high press and fast ball movement, according to co-captain and senior SK Kim. 

“We came up pretty hard as a team, and we moved the ball pretty well,” Kim said. “Our plan was to do high press, and I think we executed that pretty well. I think the weakness was we didn’t play as fast as we should have, and we didn’t communicate.”

According to co-captain and senior Sherwin Salehi, the team made many adjustments such as changing the formation to a four-four-two in the beginning of the game to fill in gaps on the field and prevent advances from the opposing team. The four-four-two formation consists of four defenders at the most upfront, four midfielders in the middle and two strikers in the back. The formation is one of the most commonly used formations as it allows for a versatile range of motion. 

The team had several occasions of close goals, where the ball missed the goal or was blocked by the opposing team’s goalie. 

“For next game, our goals would just be finish[ing] our shots,” Salehi said. “Today we had plenty of shots, but we just weren’t able to capitalize on that. Especially the easy ones, we were even missing those today.”

During halftime, head varsity boys’ soccer coach Benjamin Jordon emphasized coming in the second half with a strong intensity to set the template for the remainder of the game and control the field. 

“Our biggest strength is just our ability to press in their half of the field and winning the ball back and putting them under a lot of pressure,” Jordon said. “Then I just think the chemistry that we have together as a team, really, I think gives us that extra little bit.”

With 10 minutes remaining on the clock, sophomore Parsa Goshtasbi executed an extended solo dribble to the corner of the field and made a quick pass to senior Behrad Bayegan who awarded the team its second goal of the game.

With the game starting their season, Salehi said they hope to work on getting back into rhythm and hopefully make it to CIF and place in league

while giving it their all for the remaining games. 

“From previous years, we would have more pre-season games, and obviously we had a long break from playing soccer, so having worked in time was crucial for us to get back into the habit of playing,” Salehi said. “But you have less games. You only have a few with all three or four pieces compared to five or six plus from the previous years. I guess in that sense, it was a little bit harder for us to get back into things.”